MTV Challenge Theory: Did Cohutta Actually Win the Ruins for The Champions?

Allan Aguirre
7 min readFeb 15, 2022


Cohutta Grindstaff eliminating Wes Bergmann on the Ruins is one of the all-time upsets in MTV Challenge elimination history. To that point, Wes had not only never been sent home during his Challenge career, but his elimination record was a spotless 8–0. To this day, no other male in Challenge history has ever won eight consecutive eliminations (Laurel did 9), let alone do it to start their Challenge career; hell, most people don’t even sniff eight eliminations.

In a game of Spool, players had to weave a rope through an obstacle course, under and over bamboo poles. Cohutta being quick on his feet, was able to pull out the win working both smarter and harder. Going in, Wes touted himself as a mercenary/headhunter who “felt bad” he had to take Cohutta’s girl (KellyAnne) and now take him out of the game. Instead, Cohutta pulled off a win cemented as one of the biggest upsets in Challenge history.

It is such a massive upset win that most don’t realize that the Challenger team (females specifically) might have been better off had Cohutta lost.

Breaking Down What Happened After The Elimination

On the surface, Cohutta beating Wes was a big moment (it was), as for the first time all season, one of the Champ men got sent home. Cohutta would then pull off some additional magic, taking out Syrus before getting taken out by Darrell himself. Darrell and Brad would get DQ’d due to their tussle, and Bananas would take out Dunbar in the last elimination, meaning the Final would get run with 4 Champ Men (Derrick, Kenny, Evan, Bananas) and no Challenger Men. Susie would be the only Champ female running the Final, while Sarah & KellyAnne repped the Challengers. In the Final, Sarah & KellyAnne lost by literal minutes, where them having fewer people was a massive advantage as it meant they didn’t wait on as many people to complete all the checkpoints.

This leads to my main point: if Cohutta goes home during his elimination with Wes, the Champions team likely carries 1 to 3 more people for the Final. For this reason alone, KellyAnne & Sarah probably win the Ruins. Let’s look deeper in and break down the winning/losing scenarios to make sure.

Looking Under The Hood

From here on, we will assume the Champs will continue to dominate the dailies as they did in the original season. I tried to account for what would happen if Wes attempted to throw a daily challenge, and really only the second to last daily of the season is there a shot where his individual impact could lead to a Challenger victory in a daily. The female eliminations play out the same as there is no significant reason to think otherwise as the same people would still control the numbers. While the Champ men did not have to give Susie her desired opponent in the last elimination (Casey), they were ultimately afraid of her throwing the Final and would not have wanted to get on her bad side. We will also assume the Brad/Darrell fight doesn’t happen because the house environment and events would be different.

If Wes takes out Cohutta, he absorbs his bank account, and the Challengers become left with Dunbar & Brad on the male side. The subsequent elimination likely becomes Wes vs. Dunbar in “Hog Tie,” where I’m betting on Wes as the better athlete with more experience; also, Dunbar is just a wet roll of toilet paper in a human being’s body.

At this point, I believe the Champs would throw Syrus in to face Brad because they would see him as a potential anchor in the final. I assume Brad takes out Syrus in “Crunch” because he has a better strength-to-weight ratio than Syrus. In the scenario where the Champs says “fuck it” and throw Wes in again, I’m putting my money on Wes over Brad, as facing a swimmer in a breathing/sit-up contest is hard to go against. If Brad beats Syrus, though, that’s where things get interesting.

There is an alternate world where Dunbar beats Syrus in Hog Tie, even then, he just gets demolished by either Darrell or Wes in Crunch, which leads us to our next scenarios/outcomes anyway.

The Duality of Brad

Scenario #1 Brad gets taken out in the second to last elimination

Brad has to face either Wes or Darrell in Rag Doll the following week. Brad is a hell of an athlete and a scrapper, but he was much smaller on the Ruins than he is on modern seasons; meanwhile, Wes was his biggest on the Ruins and was built specifically for a Pole Wrestle type elimination. You could talk me into Brad beating Wes; it’s a 50–50. Against Darrell? Zero-shot. If Brad loses this elimination to either Wes or Darrell, the Champions go into the final with a whopping seven people against KellyAnne& Sarah. Even if they changed the Final to accommodate the larger champion team, based on money alone, Wes had more financial gain from throwing it and then splitting the winnings with his girlfriend, KellyAnne.

In this world, KellyAnne & Sarah become Challenge Champions, and then you remove a title from Kenny (3 to 2), Evan (2 to 1), Susie (2 to 1), Derrick (3 to 2), and Bananas (7 to 6). For storyline purposes, it means Sarah doesn’t get her big moment on Exes 2 where she finally overcomes to odds after eight seasons; instead, she becomes known as one of the best Challenge rookies ever. KellyAnne goes from one of the best to never win to a Champion. Darrell loses his first-ever Challenge Final. Wes remains never eliminated after three seasons with either a 10–0 or 11–0 elimination record and gets thrown around heavily in the GOAT conversation. Bananas has the most at stake in the long-term because you remove a title from his belt that early on — the way we view him throughout the years becomes a bit different.

Scenario #2 Brad gets taken out in the final elimination

For this scenario, Brad beats Wes in the Pole Wrestle variant, then loses to Darrell in “Muay Thai,” the elimination where players had to kick/breakdown bamboo poles (an allegedly rigged elimination). So the final becomes six against two. While Darrell could beat any of these people, one extra person in the Final slows down the entire Champions team in a couple of checkpoints, specifically where players had to navigate a bamboo balance-beam obstacle course. That’s not even accounting for the fact Darrell doesn’t have a great sense of balance and is someone I could envision falling during the course.

I have KellyAnne & Sarah winning the final by seconds in a photo-finish in this world.

Scenario #3 Brad runs the elimination gauntlet

The final scenario is that Brad runs the gauntlet and takes out Syrus, Wes, and Darrell to end the regular season. First off, it would mean Brad would be on a 7-elimination win streak where he took out CT, Landon, Darrell, and Wes, which would be insane. Second, it would make the Final the same original five who won, facing KellyAnne, Sarah, and now Brad.

We know the original five beat KellyAnne & Sarah, so while adding Brad is a positive on paper, in reality, he slows down the Challenger team, specifically in mental/eating portions, giving the Champions a lot easier win, which is a funny outcome.


Cohutta’s big upset elimination upset was an incredible moment for a good human and competitor. As cool as it was to create these alternate-world simulations, maybe what we got in our world is what was supposed to happen. Still, doesn’t hurt to have a little fun. So wherever you read this, please comment on whether you prefer our current reality or one with different Ruins winners?



Allan Aguirre

27 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.